The Florida state legislature has passed a law that will cap sales tax on the first US$60,000 on yacht repairs and refit work. The bill, sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), was designed to make the state’s boatyards more competitive with other states and countries with no sales taxes. It will go into law July 1.

“This gives us a shot at the bigger refits being done around the world,” Phil Purcell, executive director of the South Florida marine group, told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. He added that work resulting from the tax changes could benefit “tens of thousands of people in Broward County alone, everyone from electricians, carpenters, welders, plumbers, seamstresses and carpet layers to sellers of TVs.”

The state’s aviation industry has a similar provision, which has made it one of the most popular destinations for major refits for large and small aircraft.

An earlier law passed by the legislature in 2010 caps Florida sales tax on new and used boats at US$18,000. It has helped increase boat sales as well as increasing state tax revenues by bringing in buyers from other states.

The paper reported that some lawmakers were not happy about the new law. Senator Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat from Orlando, said the measure helps “the wealthy and the very wealthy and does nothing for the little guy,” according to the paper.

Senator Jack Latvala, a Republican from Clearwater, countered that the tax break was “not about saving millionaires money” but rather “getting jobs for people who aren’t millionaires.”

South Florida has an active network of refit yards, including Derecktor, Rybovich, Dania Cut Superyacht Repair and Rolly Marine Services, as well as many others.